South Africa’s AVI has confirmed it is in talks with Mondelez International about the possible acquisition of its Snackworks division.

News reports at the start of the week suggested negotiations were going on but these remained unconfirmed until AVI made a short announcement to the Johnannesburg Stock Exchange, on which it is listed, yesterday (24 November).

It said: “The company advises shareholders that it has progressed discussions with Mondelez International LLC regarding the potential acquisition of AVI’s Snackworks division.”

It added as a cautionary note: “There can be no certainty that an agreement will be reached.”

Given AVI is a consumer goods group with interests that also take in personal care and fashion, it was unlikely that US-based Mondelez – the maker of Oreo biscuits and Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate – would be interested in buying the business outright.

AVI’s Snackworks division includes biscuit brands Bakers and Pyotts, crisp brand Willards and Provita crispbread.

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Mondelez already manufactures local products such as Chappies bubble gum and chocolate bar Chomp in South Africa, as well as selling global brands such as the aforementioned Oreo and Cadbury.

The weight of Mondelez’s M&A activity since its formation in 2012 has focused on North America and Europe.

Its acquisitions in recent months include the purchases of Greece-based snacks maker Chipita, announced in May, and UK sports-nutrition firm Grenade, bought two months earlier.

Just Food has asked Mondelez for comment following AVI’s stock exchange announcement.